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Louise Bennet
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Families from Wodonga will learn about their own wartime history at a two-day War Heritage Roadshow that kicks off on Sunday 28 May.

Diaries, photos, medals and trench art are among the pieces of war memorabilia that will be examined at the Antiques Roadshow-inspired event featuring Australia’s top preservation and conservation experts.

It is part of a state-wide War Heritage Roadshow, which is a Victorian Government initiative being delivered by the University of Melbourne Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation.

The Roadshow is designed to help preserve Australia’s wartime history, from the Boer War to the most recent conflicts, and give families and communities the tools to care for their memorabilia at home.

Grimwade Centre Director, Professor Robyn Sloggett, says many Wodonga families have war memorabilia that helps tell the story of Australia’s war history that include letters and photographs but also things like ration books and memorabilia from the home front or archives related to the peace movements.

“Wodonga has a proud military history,” Professor Sloggett says. “Bandiana Army Museum is the largest of its kind in Australia demonstrating Wodonga’s long and ongoing relationship to service.  And following World War II, the Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre welcoming over 170,000 displaced persons from all over Europe.”

Professor Sloggett says twentieth-century Australia was changed by post-war immigration with many migrants bringing letters and keepsakes with them that reflected their wartime experiences.

“Memorabilia represents personal and family stories of service as well as the wartime contribution of the Wodonga community and the region”.

“This roadshow will help families look after war memorabilia that has been passed down through the generations and to better understand the stories behind them,” she says.

“It’s also important that we think about modern war memorabilia – things like emails, snapchats and Facebook posts – that today’s military personnel are sending home to their families,” she says.

Minister for Veterans John Eren says the Roadshow was part of the Victorian Government Veterans Heritage and History Strategy to safeguard our wartime legacy for future generations.

"Many Victorians hold wartime artefacts important to their family story – and we want to make sure they can stay safely in family hands,” Mr Eren says.

“The Roadshow will provide a wonderful opportunity for Victorians to learn how to care for their precious wartime objects.”

The Wodonga War Heritage Roadshow will be held at Arts Space Wodonga, 160 Lawrence Street, Wodonga on 28-29 May.  All are welcome.